Lexology July 30, 2020
Covington & Burling LLP

Public-health researchers, officials and medical professionals rely on data to track outbreaks, advance research, and evaluate prospective treatments. One critical source of patient data comes from electronic health records (EHRs). EHR data in the U.S. has traditionally been siloed within hospital IT systems, but the federal government and key healthcare stakeholders have recently ramped up efforts to implement greater EHR data-sharing capabilities and improve patient access to their own electronic health information. Though the potential public-health benefits of EHR interoperability are many, these stakeholders must carefully balance these benefits against their imperative to protect and maintain the privacy of patient health data.

Public-Health Benefits of Interoperability

Electronic exchange of de-identified EHR data has already yielded real-world public-health benefits. For example,...